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Canal Cruise

Enjoy the perfect view of Amsterdam’s highlights from its canals.

TravelCurious Tip

Floating down the canal is a wonderful way to discover the historic city. If you want to intersperse the cruise with some on-land sightseeing, buy a ‘hop-on hop-off’ pass from Canal Bus.

The Venice of the North

Amsterdam is a land of canals and bridges - respectively, over 100km and 1,500 of them.

Amsterdam’s canal system was first built in the 17th century to a careful plan: the Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht were laid out in concentric semicircles, with the Singelgracht forming the outermost defensive canal. The canals, strung with radial bridges, offered a form of transport and water management for the city’s rapidly expanding residential neighbourhoods.

In 2010, the canal belt was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are no fewer than 1,550 monumental canalside buildings in the city - so a cruise offers plenty of sightseeing.


Princes, Lords and Emperors

Prinsengracht, the longest of the canals, is full of legacies of the Golden Age - the opulent period in which Amsterdam was the world’s wealthiest city. Noordekerk (Northern Church), Noordemarket (Northern Market), Westerkerk (Western Church) and also the Anne Frank House can all be seen from here. Keizersgracht’s Homomonument commemorates the victims of homophobic persecuction. Herengracht’s fashionable Golden Bend is teeming with grand mansions.

The canal and street of Zwanenburgwal, in Amsterdam’s centre, is one of the city’s most gorgeous, and adjoins the lovely market of Waterlooplein: Rembrandt lived here, as did the philosopher Spinoza. Another stunning spot is Brouwersgracht, which boasts lavish apartments converted from warehouses which used to store imported spices and silks from Asia.

Built in 1995 in Amsterdam’s northeast, on the manmade Java Island, Brantasgracht, Lamonggracht, Majanggracht and Seranggracht are the city’s newest canals. 19 young architects designed modern reinterpretations of classic canalside houses. Each design is unique, and the canals also feature decorative metal bridges. Java Island is a bit out of the way, but well worth a visit: the Venice of the North is alive and well.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Amsterdam
Begijnhof
Amsterdam's picturesque ancient court has a fascinating religious history.
Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market)
The city's most fragrant attraction is the only floating flower market on the planet.
Rijksmuseum
A magnificent building with a collection to match, this is the Netherlands' most popular national museum.
Van Gogh Museum
A stunning collection of works by the world's most eminent Post-Impressionist.
Nieuwe Spiegelstraat
At the heart of the art district, this street is home to many of Amsterdam's premier galleries and antique dealers.
Waterlooplein
Surrounded by small souvenir shops and bars, this central square is popular for its hectic flea market.

Related Tours

Full Day Private Highlights Tour including Tickets: Canal Cruise and Amsterdam's Architecture
Discover the vibrant culture, architectural beauty, and fascinating history of Netherlands' capital.

  • Enjoy a canal cruise through Amsterdam
  • Explore the bustling Dam Square
  • Visit the oldest building in Amsterdam, Oude Kerk
  • Learn about Amsterdam's royalty at Koninklijk Palace
  • Cross the famous Torensluis Bridge and pass by Anne Frank's House
  • Meander through the unique and trendy Jordaan District
  • Discover the hidden gems of Amsterdam at Nine Streets and Spui Square
  • Conclude by the beautifully-lit bridge, Magere Burg
Venice of the North
You will begin your tour with a comprehensive cruise that will take you through the warren of canals that define the great city of Amsterdam, giving you an introduction to the history of Amsterdam and a deeper appreciation of the diverse districts that make up this fantastic city. 

After your canal cruise, you will explore Amsterdam’s bustling Dam Square where you will get to visit the astonishing 800 year old Oude Kerk (Old Church), the oldest building in Amsterdam, which is such a part of the Dutch identity, that is called “Amsterdam’s living room”. 

You will then venture on to the magnificent Koninklijk Palace (Royal Palace), once the residence of Louis Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon. Luckily this beautiful building is now open to the public, and you will get the chance to visit the Citizen's Hall (Burgerzaal), clad in marble which is particularly striking on a sunny day.

You will then cross the quintessentially Dutch Torensluis Bridge where you will pass Anne Frank’s iconic home and the 17th century Westerkerk (West Church) with its gigantic 85m high tower.

Authentic Amsterdam
You will go on to explore the beautiful Jordaan District, traditionally a rather poor neighbourhood, attracting amazing artists and poets, including Rembrandt and the famous 17th century Dutch writer Joost van den Vondel. You will also explore the picturesque Nine Streets with its myriad independent boutiques and beautiful cafes. 

From here you will make your way to the world famous Flower Market, where you may grab a bite to eat and perhaps buy some colourful and fragrant tulips. You will also get to experience some of the hidden gems of Amsterdam, including a visit of the Spui Square where local booksellers and artists vie for your attention, as well as a visit to the enchanting courtyard of Begijnhof- a place of quiet sanctuary in the heart of Amsterdam. To finish this epic tour you will get the chance to take some absolutely stunning photos of Magere Burg, the “Skinny Bridge” lit up beautifully at night.

We built this tour because 
Amsterdam is packed with culture and history, therefore a full-day walking tour is the ideal form of exploring the capital. 
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